2019 4-star WR TJ Jones was part of the Columbia High team that shocked the No. 1-ranked team in the country, IMG Academy, in their Kickoff Classic late last month. Columbia ran out to a 27-0 lead and led 33-13 in the third quarter, at which point both teams played their reserves the rest of the way, which was agreed upon before the game. Columbia won the game, 33-30.
“It felt good,” Jones said of the big win. “It was pre-season, but I played pretty good and Jordan (Smith, Columbia QB) threw 5 TD’s.”
Both Columbia and Jones have carried that success into the actual season.
“We’re 4-0, so it’s been good,” Jones said on his season so far. “I got about 300 yards and 2 touchdowns.”
Even though Jones is maintaining focus on his senior season and running the table, the recruiting process is never far from his thoughts. Jones has nothing set in stone right now in terms of visit dates, but does have a list of schools he wants to see during the season, including UM.
“Just been enjoying it, taking it one day at a time,” Jones said on recruiting. “I’m still figuring the visit dates out. I know I want to visit North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisville, Miami, and Nebraska.”
The Canes offered Jones back in May, and while most of the hype has been around Jadon Haselwood potentially filling the #2 receiver spot in the class after Jeremiah Payton, Jones has been every bit of a priority to WR coach Ron Dugans.
“It’s been going good with the Canes,” Jones said. “I talk to coach Dugans almost every other day. We’ll chop it up and see how things are going. He’s just been telling me to grind and keep up the good work.”
What is it about UM that makes Jones interested in becoming a Hurricane?
“Just the swagger, the intensity of the program. I think that’s my style,” Jones said. “It’s straight dogs there and I feel like I can fit right in with that.”
Although nothing is officially set for Jones in terms of visit plans, Jones hopes to be able to make it down to Miami next month when the Hurricanes take on their arch-rival in the Seminoles.
“I love the rivalry against Florida State, where everybody hates each other. That’s something I like,” Jones said. “Definitely that’s when I want to come (to Miami).”
If he does end up seeing Miami take on FSU, that won’t be the first game Jones watches at Hard Rock Stadium: the 6’1”, 185 pounder also saw Miami’s 41-8 beatdown of Notre Dame last season.
“I went to the Notre Dame game last year and fell in love,” Jones said. “After the game, went to the locker room and I talked to Chad (Thomas). I like him. I knew him through his rapping though, I listen to Major Nine.”
Jones has not released a public list of his top group or leaders, and fans following his recruitment will not be getting one at all.
“It’s going to be kept to myself, I don’t really think I’ll publish it,” Jones said of his top group. “I’ll tell coaches that they’re in my top group, but it’s not going to be public.”
While he’s not sure when an actual decision might come, for now, Jones plans to sign in February on National Signing Day, not the early signing period in December. What will he be looking for in his school of choice?
“Just feeling the energy, feeling welcome,” Jones said. “I’m trying to feel like everybody on the team works hard and feel like they’d take me in like a little brother. That’ll be a big thing. Also, having a good relationship with my coaches. But, you know, you’ve got to hear it from the players first.”
Ok I have 3:39 to go but this kid is a dog and he's the kind that Dugans LOVES. Tough, everything is either a short pass to break tackles oe down the middle to break tackles. He's a safety blacket but he will make the big blocks and you aren't bringing him down with 1 guy
This kid sounds like a leader and has a business like mentality and like Haselwood as elite wrs you badly want that because those 2 can run the unit and keep guys accountable. **** it im in regardless of what happens with Haselwood